By Sarah Sipek
Jul. 26, 2015
Julio Acevedo has always sought to better himself. Small wonder then that he rose to a position where his job is to help his colleagues better themselves.
The pursuit of self-improvement motivated the Puerto Rico native to move to Florida in search of better opportunities for himself and his family. He found that opportunity at the Lake Wales Charter School system, where he took a position as a kindergarten teacher. Putting his bachelor’s degree in drama to good use, he engaged students with impersonations of famous singers, including Elvis Presley, in order to drive their interest in reading.
The satisfaction he gained from successfully motivating his students to improve themselves drove him to enroll at Nova Southeastern University’s educational leadership program. He graduated from the Fort Lauderdale, Florida-based school in 2011 with a specialist degree that he immediately put to use in his school system’s administrative office to coordinate programs for English for Speakers of Other Languages and migrant workers and their families. Setting policy wasn’t enough for Acevedo, though. He paid attention to the needs of the population he was serving and created Conexion Hispana, a federally funded, community partnership that provides free health screenings, legal services and educational programs for Hispanic families.
His efforts have earned him great rapport with students and colleagues, so when the HR director position opened up, Superintendent Jesse Jackson had to consider him. “During my first meeting with Mr. Acevedo to discuss the position, my statement of expectation was quite simple,” Jackson wrote. “If he was going to be effective in the job, he would have to pay very careful attention to the customer service provided to all of our stakeholders.”
In his dual role as HR director and English Language Learners coordinator, Acevedo has been able to streamline the district’s onboarding process as well as continue to deliver services to the school’s Latino community.
“I love to be able to help my staff understand their benefits and our system,” Acevedo, 33, wrote. “I have always been passionate about helping others, and, as the HR director, I feel that I am able to help many people.”
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